Flood Prone and Damaged Homes Sell at Market Rate with Blue Acres Program

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On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, Tropical Storm Ida unleashed strong winds, tornadoes, and heavy rain reaching up to 10 inches throughout New Jersey. The storm resulted in extreme flooding, damage to homes, and public facilities, and lead to the loss of 29 lives.

In response to Ida’s massive impact, President Biden approved Governor Murphy’s major disaster declaration request allowing residents, businesses, and local governments in impacted areas to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)assistance. To date, FEMA has provided over $247 million in Individual Assistance to 44,866 New Jerseyans impacted by Ida.

A new $50 million investment in the Blue Acres Buyout Program allows homeowners to sell flood-damaged property at a market rate in the State. In turn, the program then demolishes the home, and the land is preserved for open space, recreational purposes, or for permanently preserved wetlands to avoid the cycle of flood-damage-rebuild-repair that has become all too routine in New Jersey’s worst flood zones.

The Blue Acres program prioritizes homes made uninhabitable by Tropical Storm Ida and works with local municipalities and homeowners to effectuate buyouts.

The $50 million in new funding for the Blue Acres Buyout Program consists of $40 million from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and $10 million in FEMA “Swift Current” funds.

HMGP funds can be used for flood or other hazard mitigation projects aligning with the State’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. FEMA Swift Current Program funds are dedicated specifically to New Jersey for home buyouts and elevations for structures with a National Flood Insurance Program policy that meet repetitive loss from flooding.

Despite the large investment, there is no single measure that will protect New Jersey communities from extreme weather and worsening flooding.

Governor Murphy has outlined the following steps to increase the resiliency of NJ communities most impacted by climate change:

  1. Flood Resilience Infrastructure: Investing over $1 billion in the study, design, and construction of “hard infrastructure” projects in New Jersey’s most flood-prone areas. And a $60 million investment in shore protection and flood control projects in FY 2023.
  2. Resilience Planning & Buyouts: The Blue Acres Program aims to move families out of flood-prone areas and create more storage for increasing floodwaters.
  3. Modernizing Flood Hazard Standards: Modernize the state’s flood hazard rules and invest in buildings and infrastructure resilient to time and an increasingly harsh climate.
  4. Improving Stormwater Management: The Murphy Administration is investing in “right-sizing” the state’s stormwater infrastructure to ensure it can handle the ever-growing size and severity of storms.

Those impacted by Ida and other storms last year are encouraged to click here for information and to discuss their interest in participating in the Blue Acres Buyout Program with their local governments.



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